Organisation gives homeless a second chance

Most of the students at the TLC skills centre live in shelters from around Cape Town.

TLC Outreach Projects, who have been active in Table VIew for 27 years, run a skills development programme in the community and would like residents and local businesses to get involved.

The programme is run for 11 months in Dorchester Drive, Parklands. According to TLC’s founder, Colleen Pietersen, the programme helps all kinds of troubled individuals like ex-offenders, school drop-outs, drug addicts, and the homeless.

“For those 11 months, we try to empower them through life-skills, life-orientation, family re-integration, job opportunities, job empowerment, CVs, etc. We try to help them with mental illnesses, addictive behaviour, abuse and we also are quite a religious organisation. Most of our students here are from Dunoon, Site 5, Zwezwe and other homeless people in our area. We decided to do this because we have noticed that even if you take people to shelters around cape Town, many of them end up going back to the streets. Hence we have started this skills centre,” she said.

The students at the TLC skills centre get an opportunity to study and write their learner’s licence. To prepare for their learners and subsequently their driver’s license, the students at TLC get assistance from Marco and Shantell Stassen. A husband and wife who own their own driving school.

Mr Stassen met Ms Pietersen and a year ago and got involved with the skills centre offering his services.

“This has been such a rewarding experience. Empowering others and seeing them smiling, getting skilled, getting their learners. It makes me happy. And when you see people’s faces being really appreciative of what we’re doing. We have older people getting their learner’s for the first time and you can see what it means to them. Our eldest student is around 54 years old. It is never too late in life and sometimes all people need is an opportunity and someone to believe in them,” said Mr Stassen.

Fardiel Majied, 39, is one of the students preparing for his learner’s license with TLC.

“I have been here for two weeks now. For me being here is a great opportunity and these opportunities are very scarce, especially for us living in shelters. Some of us still have families but we don’t have people who are willing to help us like Colleen and Marco are helping us. People look down on us and it’s tough. That is why I am so grateful for this,” he said.

Babalwa Mabusela, is originally from Mdantsane. She used to run a salon in her area and would occasionally post pictures of her work on Facebook. She was contacted by someone from Brooklyn in 2021.

“They promised me bigger and greater things and even bought me a ticket to come down to Cape Town. I soon realised after my arrival that there wasn’t a job here for me. I was being trafficked. Fast forward, I met people who managed to help me escape that man and landed up in a shelter. I have since gotten in contact with my family back in Mdantsane and will go back as a better person. I want to finish this skills programme first,” she said.

Ms Pietersen encouraged residents and businesses to get involved in charity work and if they would like to get in contact with TLC on 021 204 4575 or 083 658 4032 or visit www.tlcprojects.org.za